Do the right thing

Do the right thing
There is a responsibility that comes with owning animals. Especially animals that work on your behalf for decades. Tossing them aside when they get old and infirm is not the right response.

One of the things that really bothers me is seeing the old horses that are sent to auction, or placed on Craig’s List ads. You’ve seen those ads. The ones that ask for a “great home” for the horse they’ve “loved” for decades but can no longer care for.

Do your old friend a favor. Don’t pass the buck and potentially send them on to days filled with terror when/if they are sent on the auction circuit to be sold for pocket change and potentially sent to slaughter. Do the right thing. Call your vet. Have your horse euthanized with a full stomach, surrounded by friends.

The story below was posted on Facebook. This gentle old man was helped over the Rainbow Bridge by a stranger who helped him die with dignity. Shame on his owner for condemning him to such an uncertain fate.

I euthanized your horse today.

You should have been the there, holding his head and giving him his last kiss, comforting him in his time of need. You gave him his first one when he was born on your farm nearly 30 years ago. But you weren’t there when he needed you the most. You were a coward.

He worked in your lesson program from the time he was saddle broke at 3 years old, nonstop for the next 26 years. He put a roof over your head and food on the table for your family. You bragged that he “taught thousands of kids how to ride” at your summer camp program. And, “he was so perfect that no one ever fell off of him.” I believe that. He was a really sweet horse. And the scars and rub marks on his body proved the extent of his tenure.

His old body was growing more difficult to maintain weight and he was showing signs that he was too weak to continue. It was his time to go. But you couldn’t bear the thought of euthanizing him yourself. “Saying goodbye to a great friend is hard,” you told me. So instead, you put him on a trailer, brought him to an auction and he gave you his final gesture in the form of a check for a whopping $50. You hoped he would find someone who would care for him and love him. But you told me that you knew that was unlikely. And that’s not what happened. He was bounced from auction house to auction house, dealer to dealer. He was hungry, cold, weak and scared. If any hay was given to him, he couldn’t eat it, as most of his teeth were missing. At some point during his travels, he came down with pneumonia. He was away from the only home he ever lived at and the only person he ever knew.

Last night our paths crossed.

I knew there was something special about him, so I paid $30 to get him out of hellhole where he was and brought him home. He spent his last night in a warm stall, snuggled in a brand new blanket, with fresh hay, clean water and a grain mash. He loved the apples we gave him and sloshed them around in his mouth until he could swallow them. His fear seemed to diminish as the night progressed.

He didn’t want to get back on the trailer this morning. Maybe due to exhaustion, maybe due to fear of the unknown. Maybe he knew it would be his last ride. But he eventually loaded up like a good old boy and we headed to the hospital.

He passed quickly and quietly, with a full belly and final kiss on the nose, being held by someone who barely knew him but loved him with all of her heart nonetheless. At least more than you did. I hope you rot in hell.

May you rest in the sweetest of peaces, Skip.

3 thoughts on “Do the right thing

  1. Giving them a gentle end is the last gift of love we can bestow our loyal friends. Thank you for posting this, even if you made me cry like a baby.

  2. I guess i took this post quite personally since it appeared after i began a search for my friend, Diamond. I guess i need to remember that i only wear the shoe if it fits. In this case there was no possible way to get my foot in that damned shoe. After that i was able to digest the content. Good post

    1. I’m sorry — I used Diamond as an example to show how a much loved horse can slip through the cracks and find himself in a bad space in a relatively short period of time. It has to be very upsetting to find that a horse you knew and loved ended up lame and unkempt at a place like Cranbury. I always try to find previous owners if there are sales records or papers posted because of that. Next, I’ll write about a horse that I used to own because while he never went the auction route, it could have easily happened to him.

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